Iowa will pay out a total of $1.2 million in guaranteed money to Eastern Illinois and Ball State to bring their football teams to Kinnick Stadium this fall.
Ball State is being paid $800,000 to bring its team Sept. 25. The Cardinals, however, will travel to Purdue the week before and collect just a $350,000 payout.
“It’s hard to say why that happens,” Iowa associate athletics director Mark Abbott said. “It always depends on when you start scheduling these games.
“It wasn’t scheduled that long ago, and prices have gone up over the last few years. I don’t know when Purdue scheduled Ball State, but its not surprising their dollar figure is lower.”
Iowa is paying FCS program Eastern Illinois $400,000 to come to Iowa City for the season-opener Sept. 4. Penn State paid Eastern Illinois $450,000 last season to come to Happy Valley, Pa.
“The rate depends on the timing of the game,” Abbott said. “If you schedule it five years out, you may pay $800,000, but five years from now, that may be low.”
The $800,000 price tag isn’t the top money Iowa has paid out to a school. The Hawkeyes spent $900,000 to bring Arkansas State to Iowa City last fall.
The big check was partially because of Iowa scrambling to add a 12th game to the 2009 season.
“I didn’t work out to have a 12th game at the beginning of the season; it had to come on a bye week,” Abbot said. “It makes it more difficult to find a team that’s available.”
Matching dates is the first obstacle. Finding a team willing to come to Iowa City is the second. Finding a suitable payout is the final step.
“Some schools just aren’t that interested in coming here,” Abbott said. “Sometimes you can’t find a guaranteed amount that’s agreeable to both parties.”
Ohio State has agreed to pay Colorado $1.4 million to come to the Horseshoe next fall. Abbott said the amount was because of the short turnaround and the higher profile program, but said the cost of guarantees continues to rise.
“Prices have gone up over the last few years,” Abbott said. “Some schools are willing to take guarantee games and are exciting about playing at certain schools because of their reputation.
“But some shy away from it. It can be the kind of game that can start your season headed in the wrong direction.”
Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football